Blithe Spirit (1945)
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Critic Reviews for Blithe Spirit
Inasmuch as this is largely a photographed copy of the stage play [by Noel Coward], the camerawork is outstandingly good and helps to put across the credibility of the ghost story more effectively than the flesh and blood performance does.
Nifty special effects for the time, and plenty of Coward's inimitable wit and repartee.
Passably good, but it should have been better, what with Rex Harrison, Constance Cummings, and Margaret Rutherford reading the Noel Coward lines.
The supernatural ménage of wartime England, staged by David Lean as an elegant fissure between the clipped precision of aristocratic manners and the great unknown beyond the drawing-room
... a lightweight comedy built on witty remarks and upper-class smugness (which Rex Harrison so perfectly embodies), but comedy is not Lean's strong suit.
Audience Reviews for Blithe Spirit
Fun filled and witty this is well acted by all and breezily directed but the whole thing is stolen by the wonderfully dotty Margaret Rutherford.
A comedic triumph for Lean. Once again he and Coward make a terrific pair. Cowards words sparkle on screen whilst Lean gives a wonderful visual appreciation, including some excellent (for the time) special effects. The film looks at death, mortality and romance in an incredibly unsentimental way. Always comedic and sometimes harsh and blunt in its delivery. The comedy is also very dark at times but is handled in an rather cheery manner. Like a British stiff upper lip version of Ghost or Death Becomes Her. All the characters have unlikable traits but they soon become endearing and we accept the characters for them. A pleasantly easy watch.
Considering the strength of the source material, its surprising the film feels so stale. The cast is alright, but one gets the sense that Lean wasn't that invested in directing this movie.
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